The Fullness of the Father

The Fullness of the Father

Home Church Service 1/22/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” 

                                                                                  John 1:14–18 (NASB95)

John’s gospel account gives us the most unique perspective of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Most of the material in John is unique to his gospel. In fact, John does not include any parables or a birth narrative in his gospel account. Instead, John gives us a group of sevens – seven signs, seven titles and seven “I Am” statements. This group of sevens helps to provide the unique perspective of Jesus.

Up to this point, John’s audience has been held captive by this unique “prologue” to the gospel account of John. John captured their attention with the use of the word “Logos” or Word, known and understood by Greek and Jews alike. Things are likely to change after this next section, however. Any Greek philosopher in the audience would likely leave the discussion at John’s claim that “the Word became flesh.” That the Word would take on human likeness would just be too much for the Greek philosopher. But Jesus didn’t just put on flesh, Jesus came in The Fullness of the Father.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us in The Fullness of the Father. John testified about Him as the One who existed before. We all have received from His fullness, for He brought grace while Moses brought the Law. He has seen God, for He is in the bosom of the Father, and He has explained Him.

The Word became flesh to live with us. In The Fullness of the Father, He brought grace and truth and John testified about His eternal existence. Though the Commandments came through Moses, Jesus Christ brought grace and truth that He might reveal God, having the very nature of the Father.

In this message we seek to understand why the Word came in The Fullness of the Father.

The Fullness of the Father has been seen in His glory, and through the Law of Moses, but they did not explain Him.

1). The Word came in The Fullness of the Father to show the grace and truth of the Father.

The Word became flesh to show us how-to live-in grace and truth.

The technical term for what John means when he says “the Word became flesh” is Incarnation. God’s eternal Son, the One who created all things, came to earth as a human being to live among us. The Word became something He was not – He became human. John’s statement is clear, it leaves no room for doubt – the Incarnation did take place. The Son of God was actually made flesh and came in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is beyond doubt, God Himself, who became something He was not, by taking on human flesh, blood and bones.

Why would the Son of God take on human flesh? The answer, John says, is to dwell among us. Why did the Son of God want to dwell, or live, among us? Let’s unpack this by first taking a look at the word dwell. In the Greek language this is the word skenoo, it means to pitch a tent or to tabernacle. So. You could literally translate this sentence to “He tabernacled among us,” or “He pitched His tent among us.” Remember I said we would hear echoes of Genesis throughout this gospel? Well, this is another one with the echo of the Garden of Eden when the presence of God walked with Adam and Eve. But wait, there’s more! We can also hear an echo from Exodus and the Tabernacle when God pitched His tent among His people so they might see His presence among them.

That brings us to the word “glory,” when John says “we saw His glory…” Most biblical scholars understand this to be the shekinah glory of God that was seen during the wilderness wandering. Shekinah carries the meaning of “in the tent.” This refers to the Tabernacle when God’s presence was evident by the cloud that covered the Tabernacle, thus, you could read this as “glory in the tent.” God’s presence was “localized” in the tabernacle. In the same way, the presence of God is now “localized” in Jesus Christ. Jesus pitched His tent among us, and we have seen His glory in the tent.

But this is no ordinary glory, this glory is from the Father full of grace and truth. This is the main reason the Word became flesh – to show us the grace and truth of the Father. John describes Jesus as “full of grace and truth,” meaning that Jesus could not have any more – He is completely filled. Grace is the Greek word charis, it means favor or goodwill. It is also understood as gracious or merciful behavior of a more powerful person towards others. Truth is the Greek word Alethia understood as being in accordance with fact or reality, or what is real and genuine.

The Word became like us, to live with us and to live as us. He became flesh to experience all things human. We saw His glory, glory that reflects the Father’s glory, glory that came from the Father. We saw His glory from eternity, glory that radiates grace and truth. The Word came to show us the grace and truth of the Father. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the phrase “grace and truth” is equivalent to the Old Testament phrase “kindness and faithfulness.” This is what Moses asks for in Exodus 33:18 when he says. “Show me Your glory.”

Moses was only able to see the back of God that day, but at the transfiguration of Jesus, Moses finally saw the full glory of God in Christ Jesus. Moses and Elijah were present, as well as Peter, James and John, at the transfiguration of Jesus. Moses and Elijah representing the Law and Prophets, while Peter, James and John represent His followers, including you and me. Here is where the rubber meets the road for us as Christ followers. Jesus said, at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Jesus came to reveal the glory of God’s grace and truth by fulfilling the Law and the Prophets – He lived His life in accordance with fact and reality. As the Creator of all things, He was gracious and merciful towards others. He showed us how to live our lives within God’s Law. Not once did Jesus strike down the Law but always, He explained and expanded the Law.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How do you sense Jesus “pitching His tent” with you?

How have you experienced grace and truth recently?

How are you reflecting God’s glory in your life?

The Fullness of the Father has been seen in His glory, and through the Law of Moses, but they did not explain Him.

2). The Word came in The Fullness of the Father that He might explain the Father.

The Word became human that the Father might be revealed through Him.

The Word came in the flesh to live among us and experience all things human. He came reflecting the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth. From this fullness, John says, we have all received grace upon grace. As I said earlier, fullness is that which is completely full, the sum total. In Jesus dwelt all the wisdom, righteousness, glory, grace and truth – all the abundance of God the Father. In fact, fullness is the Greek word pleroma meaning superabundance and completeness. Jesus couldn’t have any more of God – He was fully God.

In stating that we have received grace upon grace, John is saying Jesus gives grace on top of grace; He give grace enough to meet all our needs, no matter the circumstances; one blessing leads to another blessing; new wonders dawn upon us daily and there are fresh expressions of His goodness constantly springing up in our lives. The literal translation here is, “grace in place of grace.” It speaks of a continual flow, “grace replenishing grace.” God’s grace is unlimited and never depleted.

We hear another echo from the Old Testament, Exodus once again, in verse 17 when John talks about the Law coming through Moses. Both the Law and grace express God’s nature. Moses emphasized God’s law and justice, while Jesus highlights God’s mercy, love and forgiveness. It is true the law was meant to point out our failure and condemn us for breaking the law, for no one can keep the law perfectly – thus, our need for a Savior. The Law demonstrated God’s righteousness and judgment, but the fullness of the Father – His sacrificial love, grace and truth – were never displayed in the sacrificial system as they are in Jesus.

Christ came as the demonstration of God’s grace and truth – God gave His Son to the world as the eternal sacrifice for our sin. So, perhaps there is a better way to read verse 17, “For the Law was given through Moses and grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” There is a major distinction here we must understand. The Law was GIVEN through Moses. The word “given” here is understood as “to allow, to cause, command, or grant.” The Law, the 10 Commandments, were given on physical stone tablets, words written or caused by God, on how to live with God and with others – a kind of Cliff Notes for Dummies on how to live with God and others!

In contrast, grace and truth were REALIZED through Jesus Christ. The Greek word for realized means “to come into being, to happen to become.” Meriam-Webster Dictionary offers a definition that is very close – to understand or become aware of; to bring into concrete existence. Jesus, the Word made flesh, came in the fullness of the Father that He might explain Him. In the Greek language the word explained means “to show the way.” It is a combination of two other Greek words – the first meaning “from, from out of,” the second “to show the way.” Jesus brought God into concrete existence by literally leading from out of or showing the way. Jesus came down from heaven, to lead the way into human history, thus explaining the Father to all people.

The Fullness of the Father has been seen in His glory, and through the Law of Moses, but they did not explain Him.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Where have you experienced the superabundance or completeness of Christ recently?

How are you showing grace upon grace to those around you?

How has Jesus brought the Father into concrete existence in your life?

Jesus was the very embodiment of truth while He lived on earth. Through His teachings and His sinless, perfect life, Jesus demonstrated God’s truth to the world. As Christ followers, Jesus Christ came to lead us from darkness into His glorious light. His light is what gives each of us life. He came to lead us from a life under the influence of darkness and deception into the truth of God’s mercy, grace, and love for each of us. He came to lead us from death to life.

God the Father revealed Himself to humanity through Christ, the only One who could explain Him. Through His earthly ministry, Jesus declared, without question, that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Every person believes or does not believe the grace and truth of God as revealed, realized and explained in Christ Jesus. The greatest question Jesus will every ask anyone is, “Who do you say I am?”

Christ came in the flesh meaning He became the whole person; He took on human existence in all its frailty and vulnerability. This very fact proves the value of human life and existence. In fact, let’s make this a little more personal – the fact that Jesus took on human life in its frailty and vulnerability proves the value of YOUR life and YOUR existence. God identified with us in our human life, particularly our weakness and suffering.

In closing, I want you to consider one more fact about our human life. Jesus came in the fullness of the Father. There was no sickness or disease He could not cure. He called Lazarus forth from the grave. He went to the cross to be crucified and die. He was placed in a sealed tomb – BUT death could not HOLD Him, the grave could not KEEP Him! And yet, our human life was truly the vehicle for God’s life, our flesh CONTAINED the Word, our humanity was home for Him who was forever.  

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 1:19-34

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